COLUMBUS— Members of The Ohio Black Maternal Health Caucus (OBMHC) today recognized the one year anniversary of its formation. The mission of the OBMHC is to raise awareness within Ohio to establish Black maternal health as a statewide priority. This is accomplished through advocacy efforts, partnerships, education, innovative and evidence-informed, culturally-informed policies for health outcomes that benefit the long-term wellbeing of Black mothers, babies, and families.
“The Ohio Black Maternal Health Caucus was created out of necessity to fill a void in the statehouse that neglected the voices and experiences of Black women in this State. Now more than ever, we need equity in all policy decisions we make. Now, more than ever, society can no longer turn a blind eye to the injustices that Black women and children experience,” said Rep. Boyd. “The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the black community, and it is clear that the legislative response will perpetuate the very disparities that have led to these unacceptable and shameful outcomes.”
The anniversary of the OBMHC comes on the heels of Governor DeWine’s recent announcement that the State will seek $775 million in budget cuts to Medicaid, education and more.
“The founding members of Ohio’s Black Maternal Health Caucus remain committed to changing the narrative around racial health disparities and death among African-American mothers,” said Rep. Howse. “As we celebrate the one year anniversary, I am proud of the historic work the OBMHC has accomplished and the impact it will have on future generations. This is just the beginning, and we are prepared to continue to fight for our black mothers and babies!”
The OBMHC has introduced several bills to improve black maternal health outcomes in Ohio, including:
- House Bill (HB) 535 (Brent, Hicks-Hudson) C.R.O.W.N. Act: Prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle
- HB 593 (Boyd, Boggs): Provides paid sick leave to individuals quarantined and to distribute state funds to contract workers
- HB 592 (Galonski): Appropriates money to Community Health Centers
- HB 603 (Ingram, Lightbody): Suspends student loan payment during COVID-19 pandemic
- HB 607 (Howse, Lepore-Hagan): Creates the Gender Pay Disparity Task Force
- HB 611 (Crawley, Hicks-Hudson): Medicaid coverage for Doula services
- HB 434 (Crawley): Modifies the Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) Board
- HB 435 (Crawley) “Save Our Mothers Act”: Improves standards of maternal healthcare and address cultural competency trainings
- HB 165 (Liston, Galonski): Establishes health education standards
- HB 91 (Boyd/ Boggs): Creates the Family and Medical Leave Program
- HCR 15 (Ingram): Urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow states greater flexibility in administering SNAP benefits.
- Senate Bill (SB) 71 (Williams): Study progress and challenges of African Americans
- SB 116 (Maharath): Requires health benefit plans to cover maternity services
- SB 241 (Williams): Mental health insurance parity
Additionally, HB 11, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) toimprove prenatal and maternal health outcomes, passed the Ohio House in June 2019 and was subsequently referred to the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee where it is currently being considered.